‘Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes del Ring’ Developer Interview

Oct 4, 2010 by  

Lucha Libre AAA

Over the past few years, professional wrestling fans have mostly been limited to WWE/TNA games, but not for much longer. There’s a new player in town and they’re bringing a whole new attitude with them. Slang is the first Mexican-based publisher to bring a video game to the mass market. Its initial entry? Lucha Libre AAA 2010: Heroes del Ring, a wrestling game featuring stars from the Mexican-based AAA (Asistencia Asesoría y Administración) wrestling league.

While the game was created by Slang, development has been delegated to Immersion Games for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions and Sabarasa Studios for the Wii, DS, and PSP.  We had the opportunity to ask some questions of Mateo Rojas from Immersion Games about Slang’s freshman effort, and his answers didn’t disappoint.

Game Rant: As a new company, a lot of gamers may be unfamiliar with Slang as a publisher. Could you provide a little background about the company?
Slang is a Latin company that has recognized the worldwide appeal of Mexican pop-culture. They are working to bring Latin cultural elements to the world through fun and innovative gaming experiences.
GR: One of Slang’s press releases mentions that the company will be focusing on Latin American intellectual properties going forward. Other than Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes del Ring, do you have any Latino-influenced games currently in development or targeted for development?
Yes, Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes del Ring is the first of several Latin-themed experiences Slang is looking to bring to the world. Games like Lucha Libre AAA will present distinct Latin flavors but underneath gamers will find the gameplay speaks loudly regardless of cultural heritage.
GR: Today, mainstream wrestling in the United States is now limited to the WWE and TnA. In the 1990′s, the now-defunct WCW use to feature luchador matches (many of these wrestlers appear to be featured in your game). These matches often combined elements from both Lucha Libre and U.S. Wrestling, and this combination was incorporated to a degree in EA’s WCW Nitro video game. Is this the style of wrestling we can expect to see Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes del Ring? Or will it be a purer style of Lucha Libre?
As a matter of fact, one of the greatest things about Lucha Libre is the mix of fighting styles. American wrestling like WWE is a brute strength league which is very exciting, and Lucha Libre has luchadores who use that tactic of fighting, but it also offers more unique styles such as Japanese, extreme, aerial and many more variations. Variety is one of the key ingredients in Lucha Libre.
Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes del Ring
GR: How will Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes del Ring differentiate itself from other wrestling games on the market?
Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes del Ring offers innovative elements as well as those that will be familiar to fans. We’ve taken some mechanics from the old AKI as well as some from games such as Metal Gear. We have incorporated a lot of what has come before and then innovated from there. This mixture, added to the wide variety of fighting styles and the ability to create characters, matches and rules, and the easy to pick-up and place mechanics allows this game to stand on its own. Trust me, the game is easy to enjoy, but it packs enough variety and increasingly difficult battles to keep those diehard fans interested.
GR: One of the biggest things that sets Luchadores apart is their unique masks. What’s the significance of the mask and how are you incorporating that into the gaming experience?
The Lucha Libre masks have turned into a worldwide known icon. Besides their visual attractiveness, a mask represents each luchador’s uniqueness, his or her career, fighting style and personality. There’s a reason why it is so important. The importance of masks takes on an increased meaning during the infamous mask. vs. hair matches in which you bet your mask or hair and therefore the pride of your luchador. In real life, the luchador who loses his mask or hair usually ends their career. They have to wait seven years before they can ever battle again. Do not worry tough, losers in the online Hair vs. Mask mode will not have to wait seven years to battle again in order to regain the ability to create a new mask or recreate their old one. They will have to win three matches in a row and then they will earn the ability to build a new mask.
GR: Our understanding is that you won’t be using a “special move” meter (as seen in past wrestling games), but a “popularity” meter instead. Could you explain how that will work?
In the luchas, like the ancient Roman gladiator matches, the crowd is very important and plays a key role in the outcome. In our game, you have to play to the crowd as well as dominate your opponent. As you earn the crowd’s loyalty you unlock better moves until you finally unlock your finishing move. You will play to the crowd differently depending on whether you are a técnico or a rudo. You can taunt or cheat, but the crowd will decide if you are worthy of your signature move.
GR: Since your title is associated with the AAA, have any of the wrestlers or promoters of the
organization assisted you in the development of the game? Have you consulted with any wrestlers outside of the organization?
AAA and the luchadores provided us with more support than you can imagine. They were there every step of the way. They provided us with feedback on the wrestling moves. The provided us with backstage access to events and the luchadores. At a very early stage of development, we got to train with the great Apache. Apache is an experience luchador who has learned from several famous luchadores. Apache is considered the official trainer of the AAA league. I wish he had taken it a little easier on me when I got in the ring with him. Trust me, it’s safer to play the game at home and leave the real stuff to the professionals. It was the only time I can remember meeting someone who could literally rip my head off.
Lucha Libre AAA Heroes del Ring 2
GR: What kind of multiplayer and online game modes can we expect and will we see any “Mask vs. Mask” game modes?
There are ranked and unranked matches, with up to 4 luchadores online. You can customize the rules and create the match the way you want. And yes, we will have Mask vs. Hair…it’s not Lucha Libre without it.
GR: A “Mask vs. Mask” match often ends one luchador’s career. Is that being integrated into the game for online play or possibly for the career mode?
It is present on both online mode and the story mode. But, as said before, you can regain your luchador honor after winning a number of matches.
GR: Luchadores are known for the high-flying and dangerous moves (especially from the top rope). Has it been difficult to accurately capture the speed and style of Lucha Libre?
It was not an easy task to develop Lucha Libre’s speed inside the ring, but we had to master it because it is one of the sport’s defining factors. We also had to be careful because not all luchadores are fast or agile or aerial. We needed to create fighting styles that were unique to each of the 30 stars found in the game. We also had to create a luchador editor that allowed fans to battle in the style they prefer. We had to create variety and we have. We hope fans enjoy it.
GR: Could you explain how career mode will work?
We focused on a story line that allows you to play as either as a rudo and técnico. The story line is similar but depending on which side you battle, you will change the story line. Plus, the career mode allows gamers to see their character’s skill grow while simultaneously growing their own personal skill.
By the end, fans will learn the differences between the alignments in Lucha Libre: rudos and técnicos, and get as well a sneak peek at all of the real luchadores, their personalities, stories and interests (not to mention their rivalries).
Lucha Libre AAA Heroes del Ring
GR: Will the game feature a “create a wrestler” mode? If so, will users be able to design their own masks? Will there be a career mode for created characters?
Yes, on both of them. The mask editor is one feature that we´re really proud of, as it has a lot of possibilities.
GR: At E3, we noticed that the game featured Spanish-speaking announcers for the game. How extensive will the commentary be? Will there be an English-equivalent? And if not, could you explain why?
Yes, although the official AAA announcers speak in Spanish, we wanted [to] offer English speakers the chance to hear it in their native tongue. Though, we have found that most people play the game in Spanish, even those that don’t speak the language.
GR: And finally, could this be the start of a franchise? Will we see a yearly version with updated rosters and more options?
We certainly hope so! You see, we have created a fun experience with this game. Though I cannot commit at this time if you will see future iterations in the franchise, but there are several features we want to build into the next game. We hope to get those ideas into future versions, and make the game and the fun experience a growing one.

I don’t have anything against the WWE Smackdown games, but competition always breeds a better product. Another wrestling game coming to the market with a fresh approach will benefit the consumers as well as developers of both games. On top of all that, lucha libre wrestling takes what’s fun about American professional wrestling and triples it: the pagentry, the high-flying moves, and the outrageous characters all seem to be squeezed in to Slang’s first effort (you can check out the game’s trailer below).

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMpUtZNEAT0

Prepare to enter the squared circle on October 12, 2010, when Lucha Libre AAA 2010: Heroes del Ring releases for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii, PSP, and Nintendo DS.

One Comment

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  1. If this plays like wcw vs nwo or no mercy I’ll be so pumped. I hate the smackdown games. No wrestling game including def jam has come close to the fun factor of those games

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